Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Difficult Decision

We moved into our house in early October, 1999. We'd spent almost a year in an apartment, without a dog. I desperately missed having a dog, so shortly after we moved in, we went to the shelter to see what we could find. We didn't find anything. About 2 weeks later, some feeling came over me that I couldn't explain. My husband was on the roof, cleaning gutters and I told him to come down, there was a dog at the shelter who needed us. I was certain that we would find one. And we did! Barclay came to live with us the next day. He was an adult dog, about 5-7 years old and had the sweetest disposition.

Barclay has been a wonderful friend and companion for the last 7 years. But now we're in a difficult spot. In the past few years he has had several cancerous and precancerous tumors removed. A few weeks ago, he started losing a lot of weight. We gave him canned food (they'd always had dry) and he put a few pounds back on. In the last week he has started coughing, has horrible breath and has bled from his mouth a few times. On Sunday, I opened his mouth to see if he had something caught in his throat and found a large tumor in his mouth. It obstructs his breathing when he lays down and he's exhausted from trying to breathe. He's making horrible noises as well. At his age, which is now 12-14 years old, I just don't want to put him through another surgery as our vet will encourage us to, then chemo or radiation. I don't want him to suffer. So, when do you make the decision to put him down? It's so hard to watch him like he is, although he doesn't seem to be in pain. I've been in contact with the shelter and they will take him any time to put him to sleep.

In my head I know that the right decision for him is to let him die gracefully...but my heart says it's not ready to let go. I'm sure the decision will be made by the end of the week, DH is away until Friday and I'm not sure I can bring him to the shelter by myself.


Gratitudes:

1. Seven wonderful years with Barclay
2. The love of a good pet
3. Support of friends at the shelter
4. Technology that allows us to give our pets peace...even if it's hard to make the decision.

14 comments:

Rae said...

From my experance---- your DH would want to be there & his support will help you through it. No matter how much your DH will understand (know) that this dession is the only humane thing - he will feel some sorrow if not resentment that he wasn't there for Barclay & to say his good byes to Barclay. Dogs can be in a lot of pain before they let you know sometimes. Also Pain is not the only form of discomfort.

My heart goes out to you. My prayers are with you.

Rae

Patti said...

I'm so sorry about Barclay. I agree with Rae. Wait until your husband is back then say goodbye together. Cherish all the memories you have, including the wonderful story of how you got him.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I am sorry your Barclay is so ill. He is a lucky dog to have such a loving and caring owner.
Hugs!

Evelyn

Tracey said...

(((Carolyn))) I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this. Those furry guys sure do make their way into our hearts, don't they? Whatever you decide, just remember that you gave him a good many wonderful years full of love.

Lois R. said...

I am literally in tears after reading about Barclay. How lucky you and he are to have had the time with each other...

Mary said...

It's hard to let go but I'm sure you'll make the right decision. It's obvious you love him and hate to see his suffering.

Linda_J said...

Oh Carolyn hard thing to do. I will always remember what the vet said to me when I found out Pippi's predecessor had a brain tumor. "Ask yourself--are you keeping them around and letting them suffer to make yourself feel better" It about killed me but the head had to do it though the heart had a real problem.

I am sorry that your Barclay is having such troubles.

Nancy said...

We got our lab Sophie when she was 5 weeks old. The day I had to take her to the vet when she was 14 to be put down was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But it should have been done at least a year earlier. We just couldn't make ourselves do it. For our sakes, not hers. This is not a decision anyone can make for you but I suspect you've already decided what needs to be done. But do wait until your husband comes home as he'll want to say goodbye if that's the route you choose to take. Hugs to you and Barclay.

Screen Door said...

Pets become members of the family. It's hard to let go. It's got to be something in their eyes. Just keep him as comfortable as possible. Your husband will be home real soon. My heart goes out to your family.
Melanie

Ann said...

My heart goes out to you having to make the decision regarding Barkley.
I had to make the same decision for my sweet cat and beloved dog, both my quilting companions for many years, within 4 months of each other.
The memories of these friends and fuzzy children of our will always be in our hearts.

Hanne said...

Hugs to you ! You and your DH have given Barclay many good year. It is a hard decision.

Laurie Ann said...

Barclay has had a good life with you. He's a lucky dog to have such caring "parents." You're right that he's too old to go through surgery again. When your DH returns go with him together and stay by his side while he goes to heaven to wait for you. I am so sorry ...

Lynn Dykstra said...

When our Rudy the Beagle needed to be put down last year, I went and filled out all the paperwork and paid the bill ahead of time.
Then, one morning, when she was unable to climb the stairs, we knew it was time and brought her in.
Lynn

ForestJane said...

Oh, what a difficult time for you - it's hard to lose a pet. My heart goes out to you.